Gabrielle Union has heard the criticism about her 2-year-old daughter Kaavia's hair and she isn't here for it. In a new interview with MadameNoir, Union opened up about taking care of her daughters' hair and the importance of having Black stylists on set. Regarding her toddler's sometimes messy hair, Union believes that kids will be kids.
"Kaav swims every day, so even when her hair is done in the morning, she swims," she explained. "So it’s not going to be picture perfect or whatever people feel that means. I’m human. I see comments where they’re like, 'That child’s hair is never done.' And it is done, I just don’t chase her around making sure that we document her looking super, super done every single day. You’ll see her like that on occasion."
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Union also revealed that she was very encouraging with her stepdaughter with husband Dwayne Wade, Zaya, emphasizing the importance of proper hair care in tandem with experimentation. "She loves to color her hair," Union said. "I’m just really trying to teach her the importance of taking care of your hair. You want to dye it? Cool. But you got to take care of it. You’ve got to moisturize it. You’ve got to comb through it all. Every day! You’ve got to wrap it up. All of these things. It’s a challenge with the kids, but it’s also giving them the freedom to just exist without having to think about their hair all the time."
In the interview, Union also addressed the systemic issue of hairstylists on film sets not being educated about Black hair and how to style it. Because of this pervasive problem, Union works with the same team of stylists for every project. "They know my hair, they know what it takes to keep it healthy," she explained. "They know what can cause damage quickly. So we create rituals in the hair and makeup trailer. Before work, we treat my hair. After work, we treat my hair. We do different steams every few days just to make sure it’s healthy and I survive a project. But I was able to do that the longer I’ve been in the union and the business by putting my stylists in my contract. So there can be no funny business."
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However, Union admits that not everyone in her line of work has the same financial privilege to make similar arrangements, so she's calling for a change in the industry, starting with the lack of representation in the Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild. "If you get to the gatekeepers, those people who want to keep Black folks and Black folks who know how to do textured hair out of the union who keep moving the goal post if you will, the union blames producers and productions. Productions blame the unions," she argued. "So, whoever it is, get out of the way. And even with the Black stylists that are in the union, they’re not always called for the jobs where they’re needed the most. They would rather hire whoever claims they have the skillset to do anything, and they don’t. And cut to, you look nuts."